Greece may have won the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, but in recent years it has struggled to match its earlier table-topping results.

But now the land of Eurovision legends — Helena Paparizou, Kalomira and Sakis Rouvas to name a few — is on the hunt for its 2018 entry, with ERT launching a submission process for the country’s top record labels.

INFE Greece reports that ERT sent a letter to Greek labels at the start of October, requesting that they submit songs for a proposed 2018 national final.

However, following Demy’s English-language club banger in 2017, the letter states that songs for 2018 must be “exclusively” in Greek and with a “Greek sound”.

The last time Greece went down a more traditional route was in 2016, when Argo’s “Utopian Land” stalled in the semi-finals — the first and only time that Greece has ever failed to qualify for the Saturday grand-final since the introduction of the semi-final system in 2004.

But with the record labels choosing the songs in contention — rather than ERT going it alone — it seems quality choices are much more likely.

Despite the initial letter stating that all songs must be submitted by the 20th of October, INFE Greece report that ERT have extended this deadline to the 27th, giving record labels an extra week to get their songs in. ERT are hoping for “a strong, quality song, performed by an artist of high vocal ability”. Perhaps the broadcaster hasn’t been impressed with what’s been sent thus far…or maybe they just want to give labels a bit more time to shine and refine.

Although little is known about when the 2018 national final will take place, the letter sent to record labels does provide some details on the selection process. All submitted entries will first be put towards an ERT committee, who will whittle the list down to an unspecified number.

If there are enough high quality entries, those selected will then face a public vote during the national final, from which the Greek entry will be chosen. There is no mention of a jury for the national final, marking the first time that the Greek song will be chosen 100% by public voting alone.

Artists confirm song submissions

While the deadline for songs may have been extended a week, several artists have already confirmed that they have submitted entries for consideration. So who’s spoken out?

Stereo Soul and DJ Koncept

After almost participating in a national final against Demy, Stereo Soul are keen to try again in 2018. In July the group noted that they planned on preparing a song to submit to ERT in the autumn, with a collaboration with DJ Koncept more recently suggested.

However, this was all before ERT’s plans to choose a more traditional Greek-influenced song. Although the song was originally recorded in English, in order to comply with the new rules DJ Koncept says the song must now been re-recorded in Greek. Panagiotis Pallis of Stereo Soul added that “the song is atmospheric mid-/uptempo electronic pop ballad”.

Areti Ketime

Unlike Stero Soul, Areti has a background in singing traditional Greek songs. Having sung at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens as a teenager, Areti now has over ten years experience in the music industry. Dimitris Karras, the composer of her 2018 national final submission, states that the song combines both Greek and Balkan elements, and also has a strong social message: “It is generally divided in choral character, Balkan orchestration with Greek rhythm and social lyrics”.

Dimitris also explained in a press release that he was happy with ERT’s announcement on choosing a more Greek-sounding song: “[it] gives the opportunity to think of artists who would not dare it in the past, I am very pleased to see friends who can thus make their dream come true”.

Xorostalites Band

Record label Spider Music have confirmed that they have also submitted a song for consideration, through the group Xorostalites Band. The group, which specialises in Greek traditional music, is made up of six members, each of whom contribute by playing different instruments.

In regards to the submitted song, a press release from Spider Music states it “embraces [Greece’s] map from Thrace to Crete”, adding it is a “musical journey to our tradition, from one end of Greece to the other”.

https://youtu.be/oBhNFfxEwc0

Vasiliki Stefanou

Musicology student Vasiliki prefers soulful, traditional music over the commercial, putting her in good stead with ERT’s Eurovision 2018 plans. Speaking to INFE Greece, Vasiliki describes her entry as “a love song  framed by the traditional sound of the clarinet, representing the melodic motifs of Epirus, and, at the same time, giving a new impetus to tradition with “ethnic” elements”. For all of you not up to date with your Greek geography, Epirus is a region in the west of mainland Greece.

Having performed in various musical scenes in both Greece and Cyprus, Vasiliki has also collaborated with notable artists such as Giorgos Dalaras, Eleni Vitali and Costas Makedonas.

Panagiotis Tsakalakos

Born in the USA, Panagiotis went on to win the second season of Greek Idol back in 2011. Now with a career in Greece, his usual musical style is more alternative pop/rock.

Although, Panagiotis has not officially submitted a song for consideration, he has confirmed to INFE Greece that he is in discussions with ERT about participating in the national final. He states that “the song with which we are participating is completely different from our past entries in [Eurovision], with ethnic elements, and I think it would offer very good prospects for a high place for Greece in this year’s Eurovision”.

So what do you make of ERT’s proposed plans for Eurovision 2018? Do you think a more traditional sounding song is a good idea? And which of the above artists would you like to see representing Greece in Lisbon next year? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!

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29 Comments on "Greece: Artists confirm national final submissions as ERT asks labels for songs with ‘Greek sound’"

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Richard
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This is great news. I’ve always loved the Greek entries but there have been far too many bland efforts recently. Something with a bit more bite to it please.

bella
Guest
I dont like the limit in language.It stopped many artists to enter.Also almost all the candidates are unknown singers except from Areti,Stereo Soul and Panagiotis.Ert is doing this wrong.We have to send an english song or a billingual.Not mediocre like this is love but smt current and unique or a kind of music like quitar ballad or a jazz song.We have many great artists.I dont want to see for the next five years ethnic songs from us.We sent enough.Its time to move on to other kinds of music.Ert can do this but they are doing a mistake .Copying last years… Read more »
Ern
Guest

Of Greece’s last 10 entries: 6-English, 3-Greek and 1-half Greek/half English.

“Opa” and “Alcohol is Free” were pop songs, and “Utopian Land” was a statement piece. Greece doesn’t really send that many ethnic songs to Eurovision. You have to go back to the 1990s to hear a Greek language ethnic song at Eurovision.

My concern is that the artists aren’t good.

AngieP
Guest

Yes, following last year’s pattern doesn’t help.
For me, maybe we should not look for a song especially for Eurovision. Let artists create their own music and song, pick the best ones and hold a national final. Don’t limit them.
The last couple of years, I feel like we experiment, we try sth different every time. Don’t follow patterns. Be creative.

AngieP
Guest

I’ve been waiting for this report for days, as I’ve read the INFE Greece report.

Where to start?
First, I don’t like the limit in the language. Greek sound, I understand and I’m all for it. I read about Stero Soul having their original song in English and now they have to re-record it in Greek. It won’t be the same song.
I also like record labels are involved because if we let ERT handle this alone, we’ll end up with sth like in 2016.
Glad we return in a national final. I’ve always believed it works.

Pluma
Guest

I haven t read somewhere that the song must stay in Greek(has happend many times with Iceland)So if they choose X song maby can change it a bit later…

Kham
Guest

Eleni Foureira and her only

Axxl98
Guest

Every year people seem to want Greece to send a famous pop diva (Foureira, Tamta, or even Helena Paparizou again). But with the new approach ERT has taken in favor of “quality” music and Greek sound, I don’t think we’ll see any of them in Eurovision soon. If Foureira wants to go to Eurovision, why doesn’t she try to represent her native Albania instead? I think that would be great.

Ern
Guest

According to Foureira, she doesn’t consider herself Albanian. She claims she has Greek grandparents and doesn’t speak Albanian.

How much of that is true? I don’t know.

Axxl98
Guest

Foureira has claimed many things that are not true, for example, a few years ago she was saying that she is Mexican or Brazilian or something, because she thought it would harm her career if she said that she is Albanian. But everyone knew that and recently she admitted it herself. I don’t know if she can speak Albanian well, but she is definitely Albanian.

AngieP
Guest

Please, not Eleni Foureira. I don’t think she has the vocal performance needed for this contest. It will be sth like Saya in 2015(NF) or Samra in 2016.
I’d love to see Helena Paparizou back and also Tamta would be great for Eurovision.
I hope the broadcaster’s approach doesn’t end up with sth like 2016. I really want sth modern yet with a greek flavour.

Ern
Guest

Honestly, I don’t think any of the artists listed above will do well at Eurovision.

If Konstantinos Argiros, Malou or Mellises were entering the competition, I’d day Greece could do well. However, I’m not so sure any of the artists listed have that charisma to get the Eurofans excited.

We’ll have to see how this plays out.

Axxl98
Guest

I like Konstantinos Argiros. His recent song “Ximeromata” has that “OPA” feeling and it could easily bring a Top-10 result in ESC.

Ern
Guest

Yes, a song like “Ximeromata” would do great at Eurovision. I also like his song “Paidi Genaio”. It’s a nice ballad about modern youth.

AngieP
Guest

Melisses would be great! IThey’re so good and I think Eurovision is right for them. They can present a quality song.

Andrea
Guest

A shame Koza Mostra decided not to return to Eurovision.

blondboybc
Guest

Well, I for one am happy they are going this route, especially regarding a more “Greek” sound for the songs! Excluding 2016, some of my favourites like “OPA” and “Alcohol is Free” have been some of my favs. Way to go, Greece!! 😀

EF0912
Guest

Marina Satti would walk this NF. Shame she said she’s not ready yet 🙁

L'oiseau
Guest

I for one see a trend emerging in several countries and this is the most obvious example. Indeed, doing similar things than precedent winner is not a success formula, but it does set a trend. And yes, native language does not at all guarantee quality, nor does singing in English. What is really interesting is that the broadcaster is trying to find something more genuine to the national culture and I find this remarkable. Maybe the fast food music speech, as controversial as it was, did made an effect… I hope it works out for Greece.

Azaad
Guest

Portugal did win with a Portuguese song, but it didn’t have a quintessentially Portuguese sound to it- not like in 2008 or 2012. I think this is ERT realizing their most successful entries have an ethnic flair and then capitalizing on that.

L'oiseau
Guest

I agree with you. My point was rather about doing something that is genuine and not ‘fast food’-like

Gorilla716
Guest

Greece should send an ethnic-sounding pop song similar to the ones they sent prior to 2014 if they want to do well again. I pray to god that they don’t send something similar to that awful song from 2016.

Jo
Guest

Yes, I miss entries like OPA and Alcohol is Free.

Jo
Guest

Sending something good and in Greek isn’t necessarily copying last year’s winner. Also, aim higher and for the win, but winning isn’t the only option.

No Name
Guest

I see nothing wrong with supporting quality

Denis
Guest

Quality isn’t exclusive to language, it’s about the package.
And copying last year’s winner never works, those who do the opposite often wins. Just because it worked for Portugal doesn’t mean it’s going to work for others.

Nikki
Guest

Kostas Martakis, and Melisses would be cool too

Cedric
Guest

Eleni Foureira pls

Geo
Guest

Waiting for Melisses to be the Greek representatives!